When Steven Spielberg first opened the park for a test run with Jurassic Park in 1993, he added to his list of perfectly engineered popcorn movies that have withstood the test of time. With 1997’s The Lost World, Spielberg had the task of building on what he started. Was it bigger with two T-Rexes? Yes. Better? Not really. Then, Spielberg passed the reigns to director Joe Johnston for 2001’s Jurassic Park III, which was not that much better than its predecessor. The last 14 years has been enough time to take the ‘Do Not Trespass’ sign off the main gate and for Spielberg to trust his brain to revisit the tropical paradise-gone-wrong.
This weekend, The Park opened to a major turnout.
Twenty years after Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond spared no expense and brought Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to the island of Isla Nublar to display his attempt at outsmarting Mother Nature, his park is finally opened. The park is a fully-operational, family-friendly destination with restaurants, Starbucks, and kids riding on docile triceratops. While Hammond’s dream has become a reality, the crowd has grown bored. So, in order to bring them and newcomers to the island, the operators and scientist of Jurassic World return to the lab to genetically design a newer, scarier attraction: the Indominus Rex.
While the powers that be ready the beast for its debut, a pair of brothers (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) arrive to spend time with their aunt, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park’s no-nonsense, work driven operations manager. Seeing her with a cell phone at the ready, heels, and severe bob, you know her character is in for a change once the disaster hits the fan. Playing off of her opposites-attract-style is Chris Pratt’s (Guardians of the Galaxy) rugged and sarcastic Velociraptor trainer, Owen Grady.
If you’ve already seen the other films, you know these characters aren’t given second or third dimensions. The dinosaurs are the main attraction. Director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) followed a similar formula that Spielberg used: throwing as many dinosaurs going wild and after unbeknownst visitors (the dinosaurs are just CGI this time). That’s what will pull audiences in. Colin does not seem bothered by the challenge of focusing on the dinos and not the people, only bringing them into the limelight at certain times. It really looked like Trevorrow had fun directing this film and while I usually like characters with more dimensions to them, I didn’t mind the distraction game that the director was playing. It made Jurassic World breathless summer entertainment. If you are busy focusing on character-building, you’ll miss the velociraptor taking off someone’s face of the I. Rex taking apart a tactical hunting party.
Seeing the dinosaurs rampage, eat unsuspecting tourists, and run as fast and furious like nitrous- fueled cars is what the audience wants. This makes Jurassic World a blockbuster. It’s not a deep-thinking movie with life lessons learned by the characters before the credits roll. Although Pratt is the main star of the movie, he’s just seen as the extra along with every other human in danger. There are many nods to the first film. Whether there is a lot or just enough is up to the audience. While it is not up to the level of the original, this is an entertaining installment to the franchise. The buffet-style helping of dino-mayhem is what makes Jurassic World the beautiful accomplishment of being the number one movie worldwide.